In celebration of having now attended forty births, I am developing a series of blog posts on just a few of the myriad reasons that make hiring a doula an awesome choice. The first ten reasons focused on studies and statistics, while the next ten elaborated on the kinds of practical help a doula brings to a birth. The third installment in this series was all about how individual births need individual support. This portion looks at some of the less tangible benefits of doula care: the ways that your emotional and relational needs are cared for.
Ever heard the phrase “Well, you have a healthy baby, and that’s all that matters?”
I have to admit, I don’t like that phrase. Healthy mothers keep babies healthy, so having a healthy mother is really my top priority. But what is actually meant by a healthy mother?
About a year ago, I read a wonderful blog post from Sharon Muza, doula extraordinaire, with this idea of overall healthy birth. She outlined that a healthy mother and a healthy birth are not just physically and medically safe, but also emotionally and mentally healthy. This is a key concept for doulas; we want you to journey through labor and delivery and into motherhood as strong and healthfully as possible, and I work to make sure that you have the relational and emotional support you need for that to happen.
31. Someone is invested in YOU during pregnancy: As a doula, I don’t answer to the hospital, birth center, or the medical staff caring for you. I’m there just for you, to help you in the ways YOU need.
32. Pressure off of Dad: There is a lot expected of expectant fathers these days. With a doula in the room, a Dad doesn’t have to be the birth expert, he just needs to be loving support. I’ve had both mothers and fathers thank me for easing the pressure off of them, giving them the space to just be continuing their relationship.
33. Coaching for Dad: So many Dads want to be that main, strong support for a birthing woman, but don’t always know what to do. I can step back, let the relationship be, and give Dad ideas for how to support the best. Sometimes, being that encouragement and source of information is all a Dad needs!
34. Reassurance for Mom: We women care so much about our babies and the process of getting them out is so critical, that sometimes the greatest need is simply knowing that everything is actually going well and we’re doing it right. The reassurance of a doula when you might feel some self-doubt can be a game-changer, helping you tap into confidence and courage.
35. Greater satisfaction with whole birth experience: When a doula has been with a mother during birth, they report much higher levels of satisfaction with the whole shebang.
36. Security that someone you know will be there: Labor and Delivery nurses are the salt of the earth and should be, as a group, canonized saints…but they’re usually still a stranger when you first get to the hospital. The same thing goes for birth assistants at home births. However, you KNOW your doula. I will be the familiar face and voice helping everything go smoothly and for you to feel secure.
37: Can be open and genuine during your birth…in expression: I’ve heard the stories of women who were worried about being polite and not hurting feelings during labor, and I really think it’s a pity. The main work of labor is an opening up and letting go, and labor works best if this is on all levels. *I* don’t need to be treated carefully. When a mom is in labor, she can just unload on me all she needs to, if it helps get emotions off of her chest. I’ve pretty much seen and heard whatever can be thrown at me during a labor, and my feelings aren’t going to be hurt!
38. Can be open and genuine during your birth…in requests: “I just need some pressure on my butt!” The security that comes with doula care means that a mom can ask for absolutely anything, and I will do everything I can to help make it happen.
39. Assistance during Golden Hour with bonding: Once you have had your baby, the most important thing is to simply hold that little precious one, soak them in, and start to get to know them. Your mom or sister out in the waiting room may need to still just wait for a few minutes, while getting an update. You may need food or drink brought to you and put in your hand so you don’t have to break eye contact with that fascinating little stranger. Or, perhaps just some reassurance that you’re doing everything just perfectly, and all that baby needs is to hear your heartbeat and stay warm next to you.
40. Continuing relationship during postpartum: Because birth is such an amazing thing, a such a huge life-change, it helps to have those who cared for you during birth still in close touch with you after birth. I stay in communication with my families by text, through home visits, and emails for weeks after birth, to make sure they know they have a support and a resource in me as they need it.
As I bring this series to a close, I want to thank you for sticking with me through all forty ideas! Being a birth doula has been my greatest honor and most amazing achievement, short of birthing my own babies. My earnest hope is that all of this helps you feel secure in the idea of choosing a doula, and excited about the beautiful birth you will have. If you need help finding someone, please feel free to contact me, or visit either of these websites below to find that “just right” doula in your area: